Self Esteem And The After Effects Of Bullying

28 Jul

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about how I see myself and how much of that view comes from other people.  So here is my confession. I’ve decide to open up about my feelings so I hope you’ll forgive me for putting it out there.

When I was younger I was bullied. I was told everyday that I was ugly, I was called a stupid bitch and a vampire (I had horrendous teeth and I mean seriously unfortunate!) I wonder now as an adult how much of that experience effects my self esteem now. To be honest how long it actually went on for is a bit of a blur;; I only remember it easing up somewhat when my mother died. I guess even some bullies have limits.

I am 30 now, I have low self esteem. I am coming to terms with what is in the mirror but even on my best days I only think of myself as acceptable. On the days when I’m not looking my best I want to cry when I look in the mirror. I loath the way I look in photographs and it takes me ages to take one I feel is acceptable for my avatar. I’ve put on a little weight and I hate it. I paid to have orthodontics done a few years ago and still have to wear a retainer, just so that I could feel that I wasn’t completely hideous. I’d had them done on the NHS before when I was a kid but things were moving again. To be honest the whole process was painful and nightmare although the results were good, I’m not sure I’d do it again.

Some days I hate who I am as well as how I look. I find it difficult to connect with people and I always feel like my friends don’t understand me. I never trust anyone completely because I believe that if you trust someone it is inevitable they will hurt you because that’s what people do. Since school I have had it in my head that the majority of people are nasty and only a few good people exist.

I feel intensely uncomfortable if anyone pays me a compliment because I am convinced they’re lying. I think they’re either doing it to be nice or because they want me to believe it so they can humiliate me. I expect them to laugh in my face and say ‘ha-ha you’re so stupid why would anyone think you look nice, you ugly cow’ etc. etc.

Men don’t find me attractive and no I’m not just saying that. That just reinforces my low self esteem. In fairness though perhaps that it for the best because I’m usually incapable of attraction but that’s one for another day!

I don’t know how many of my problems spring from those days and I probably never will but I know they played their part. Although I have let most of the bitterness go it doesn’t mean my scars don’t still itch me. I’d like to say I was strong enough to be completely over it but that’s not so easy. It’s a shame I was so shy back then, there’s a few things I’d like to have said to those bullies.

Now I know there are people who say that you are only a victim if you choose to be it’s survival of the fittest. That may have been true once but we are meant to be civilised aren’t we? So obviously violence isn’t the answer so how can we stand up to bullies? Telling a teacher, in my case that just made things worse.

You could argue that if someone is verbally bullying you, you can give them a mouthful but it’s rarely that simple and never that easy when you’re shy, scared and feeling worthless; especially when you’re out numbered. Verbal bullying is mental abuse.  As children I’m sure we’ve all said things that were mean at some point I know I did, but there is a difference between one mean spirited remark in an argument and a persistent campaign of verbal abuse. Verbal bullying should not be taken lightly.

It’s time we stopped blaming victims and do something about it. If children don’t have the means to defend themselves then we should give them some legal backup to say this is wrong and you wont be allowed to get away with it. It is harassment.

That this kind of behaviour is still condoned in a society that claims to be civilised is abhorrent. It should not be written off as a right of passage.

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